University Distinguished Professors represent the highest level of achievement for our faculty, They are recognized as pre-eminent authorities in their fields and their accomplishments are exemplified by outstanding teaching, mentoring, discovery and service. They demonstrate to the world the high quality of scholarship underway at Texas A&M University.

University Distinguished Professor Honorees Cumulative List

Photographs from the 2018 Distinguished Professor Reception

2017-2018 University Distinguished Professor Honorees

Vytas A. Bankaitis, professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, College of Medicine, and holder of the E.L. Wehner-Welch Foundation Chair in Chemistry, with joint appointments in the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, and in the Department Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, received his doctorate in microbiology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He trained as postdoctoral fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation at the California Institute of Technology and went on to hold faculty positions at the University of Illinois, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center, and was chair of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine before joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2012. Dr. Bankaitis has made seminal contributions in the field of phosphoinositide signal transduction. His laboratory discovered that lipid signaling is an essential regulatory component of membrane trafficking—a discovery that opened an entirely new field in cell biology. He has served as chair of the Nuclear Signaling Gordon Conference, theme co-organizer of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting Symposium—Lipid and Membrane Metabolism, co-chair of the FASEB Conference of Phospholipid Metabolism, co-chair of the American Society of Cell Biology’s annual meeting (minisymposium), director of the Lipid Division of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and member and chair of multiple National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation review groups. Dr. Bankaitis has approximately 160 refereed journal articles, one book, and numerous other publications.

Timothy R. Elliott, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development, received his doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1987. Before joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2006, he held faculty positions at the Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed his clinical internship at Seattle Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, is a licensed clinical psychologist in Alabama and Texas, and holds board certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology, Rehabilitation Psychology Specialty.   Dr. Elliott has changed the science of rehabilitation psychology. One of his greatest accomplishments is in the field of telehealth. Because of Dr. Elliott’s research and innovative vision for training students, the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at Texas A&M is the only accredited program in the nation that staffs and manages a telepsychology clinic that provides training and clinical services. He is a fellow in Rehabilitation Psychology, Health Psychology and Society of Counseling Psychology, all in the American Psychological Association. His numerous awards include the Roger G. Barker Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology, the Dorothy Booz Black Award for Counseling Health Psychology from the Society of Counseling Psychology, the Outstanding Educator Alumni Award from the Auburn University College of Education, and The Association of Former Students University-Level Distinguished Achievement Award in Research. He has 215 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 1 book, and 52 book chapters. 

Stephen Maren, professor and holder of the Claude H. Everett, Jr. ’47 Chair in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2012. He received his doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Southern California in 1993. After postdoctoral training at the University of California, Los Angeles, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan. He is a behavioral neuroscientist that specializes in the neurobiology of learning and memory. Dr. Maren has made several seminal contributions to uncovering the neurobiological basis of emotional learning and memory, particularly memory for fearful experiences. Each of these contributions has driven new empirical and theoretical work in the field and has been foundational to understanding the basic synaptic and circuit mechanisms underlying both normal and pathological fear memories. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science. In 2001, he received a prestigious Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the APA.  He received the Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award from the McKnight Foundation in 2015. In 2017, Dr. Maren received the D.O. Hebb Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the APA in 2017, was named a Presidential Impact Fellow at Texas A&M and was appointed to the Scientific Council of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. He is recognized in Essential Science Indicators (Thomson Reuters) as a Highly Cited Author (top 1%) in the field of neuroscience and behavior with over 18,000 citations and more than 136 articles in refereed journals and 9 books, chapters, or reviews; he has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1995.

Ryland F. Young III, Regents Professor, Sadie Hatfield Professor of Agriculture, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, with a joint appointment in the Department of Biology, College of Science, earned his doctorate as an NSF Postgraduate Fellow in molecular biology at the University of Texas at Dallas. Before joining the Texas A&M faculty in 1978, he did postdoctoral training as an NIH Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Young’s research is focused on bacterial viruses, also known as bacteriophage or phage. He and his colleagues have made a series of seminal discoveries that have impacted not only our understanding of phage, but also of bacteria themselves. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  In addition to continuous competitive support from NIH since 1980, Dr. Young received a MERIT Award—a special 10-year grant awarded on long-term success in research achievements. Dr. Young was named a Texas Agriculture Experiment Station Faculty Fellow, received the University-Level Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research, the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, the University-Level Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching, and the Dean’s Achievement Award for Faculty Mentoring. He has 156 peer reviewed journal articles, 5 book chapters, and 4 editorial articles.

Guoliang Yu, professor and holder of the Powell Chair in Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, College of Science, earned his doctorate in mathematics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1991.  Before joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2012, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley and held faculty positions at the University of Colorado and Vanderbilt University. Dr. Yu is recognized for his contributions which are central for a rather large area of mathematics, centering around problems such as the Baum-Connes conjecture, the Novikov conjecture, and related geometric properties of groups. The techniques developed by him are fundamental for that field. He is one of the world leaders in the area of noncommutative geometry. His influential work has opened the path for a host of new developments and techniques. Dr. Yu is an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and has received the Thousand Talent Award from the Ministry of Science and Ministry of Organization in China. He has been an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians, the International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians, and the American Mathematical Society. He has more than 58 publications and 4 books.